|Springtime in DC!
DOE Public Meetings
April 26 - Fluorescent Ballasts
May 5 - Central AC and Heat Pumps
May 7 - Battery Chargers and External Power Supplies Test Procedure
May 19 - Walk-in Coolers and Freezers
All meetings held in Forrestal Building
|Fun Fact |
|Which electronic product can consume as much energy per year as two new refrigerators?
See below for answer
| FTC Proposes EnergyGuide Labels for TVs|
Related News: "Energy-Efficiency Strategy Could Cut Household Bills by $450 a Year" says the Consumer Federation of America. Stronger
appliance standards are among key recommendations.
Water Heaters Look to the Future!
In a decision that blends the old with the new, DOE adopted a standard which would require the use of advanced technologies such as condensing gas and heat pump water heaters for the largest water heaters and would rely on advances to conventional technology for the remainder. The decision will significantly increase the efficiency level for the largest heaters and help to pave the way for a broadscale adoption of newer technologies in years to come. Storage water heaters under 55 gallons will see a 3-4% gain in efficiency while those over 55 gallons will save between 25% (gas condensing) and 50% (electric heat pumps). National savings for these products will amount to 2.6 quads of energy over 30 years or enough energy to power 13 million typical U.S. households for one year. Over the same period, consumers would save about $8.7 billion and carbon dioxide emissions would be cut by an amount equal to the typical annual emissions of 30 million cars.
After initially proposing minimal efficiency increases for all water heaters, DOE reconsidered and opted for the 'blended' standard described above. Strong support from efficiency, consumer and environmental groups, state government officials, utility regulators, utilities and some industry groups may have helped DOE to decide in favor of this innovative approach to water heater standards.
|DOE says 'Follow the Rules'|
DOE Takes on Enforcement of Standards
If you want proof that DOE is renewing its commitment to the enforcement of standards, look no further than the webpage of the Office of the General Counsel. Since January 12, 2010, the office has issued 10 press releases detailing enforcement actions for infractions of minimum energy conservation standards. A few of the headlines detail the unfolding enforcement story:
"DOE Warns Manufacturers Who Submitted Incomplete Certification Reports"
"DOE institutes Enforcement Action Against 4 Showerhead Manufacturers for Failure to Certify 116 products"
"DOE Opens Investigation into Alleged Lighting Efficiency Violations"
Earlier this fall, DOE signalled their intent to step up their enforcement efforts by providing manufacturers with a 30-day grace period in which to submit correct energy use and other required information on appliances. In response, DOE received over 600,000 appliance certification forms from 160 manufacturers covering 15 product categories. According to General Counsel Scott Blake Harris, DOE plans to "aggressively pursue all manufacturers who have failed to comply with these certification requirements or whose products violate the country's energy efficiency standards".
True to their word, DOE has initiated several enforcement actions and investigations of manufacturers:
On January 28, DOE issued an action against 4 showerhead manufacturers (Zoe Industries, Altmans Products LLC, EZ-FLO International, and Watermark Designs, Ltd) who failed to certify that their products meet the respective water conversation standards. The proposed collective payments for the fines are over $3 million. If the companies fail to settle the claims within 30 days, they will face further action.
On March 7th, DOE requested test data from Hudson-Reed, Ltd., Delta Faucet Corporation, Zoe Industries and Watermark Designs, Ltd. after receiving information that certain models may exceed the maximum water flow rate. Additionally, they notified Hudson-Reed that they face a civil penalty of $1.9 million for failure to certify that certain showerheads meet federal water conservation standards.
Also in March, DOE initiated an investigation and then ordered AeroSys to halt production of inefficient air conditioner and heat pump models that were in violation of minimum efficiency standards. Tests on an additional 4 models are underway.
On April 12, DOE opened investigations of three refrigerator-freezer manufacturers based on allegations that certain models did not meet federal energy conservation standards.
These enforcement actions will help maintain the integrity of DOE's appliance standards program and allow significant energy, cost and emission savings to continue to be realized. We are interested in doing our part to help DOE track down compliance problems. If you are aware of compliance problems with national appliance standards, we'd like to hear about it. Send an e-mail or call ASAP's Outreach Director Marianne DiMascio (781-293-6309).
Enforcement Press Releases from the General Counsel
(note: DOE and EPA are also stepping up enforcement of ENERGY STAR certified products - see Energy Star Enforcement)
Federal Action: Appliance Standards in the Senate
On March 10, 2010, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources held a hearing on four appliance standards bills. According to ACEEE, the standards in these bills would reduce U.S. annual electricity use by about 20 billion kWh in 2020 and 56 billion kWh in 2030. The 2030 electricity savings are equivalent to the amount of energy generated in a year by 14 coal-fired power plants.
The National Energy Efficiency Enhancement Act, S. 3059, includes two consensus agreements negotiated by efficiency advocates and manufacturers: the first would set regional standards for residential central air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps, and would allow states more options for building codes to promote use of even more efficient HVAC products; the second would establish new efficiency standards for many types of pole-mounted outdoor lighting fixtures.
The Green Gaming Act would require the Secretary of Energy to conduct a study of video game console energy use and opportunities for energy savings and make a determination of whether minimum efficiency standards are warranted.If left on all the time, some video game systems can consume as much energy each year as two new refrigerators.
A third bill would set Federal efficiency standards for bottle-type water dispensers, commercial hot food holding cabinets, and portable electric spas, following the lead of states such as California, Connecticut, and Oregon, which have already adopted these standards. Finally, the Water Heater Rating Improvement Act would require the Secretary of Energy to establish a uniform efficiency descriptor and accompanying test methods for water heaters, which would make it easier to compare the energy use of different water heater technologies.
Click here for the full testimony of ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel and other witnesses
Keeping up with DOE
One after another, notices for final rules, proposed rules, test procedures, and hearings are rolling out of the standards program. Secretary Chu's DOE is moving at a clip that only an energy efficient staff could keep up with. Keep reading for the latest updates.
Up Next: Refrigerators/freezers
Just when you thought refrigerators and freezers couldn't get any more efficient, new technologies come along to change your mind. DOE reports that advances in insulation and other features could lead to an additional 25-30% energy savings. This after a decades long fall in energy usage from 1800 kWh/year in the 70's to just over 500 kWh/year in 2007. Vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) may prove to be the technology of choice for achieving the energy savings. A proposed rule is expected later this spring. To learn more, see DOE's public meeting presentation or the Technical Support Document.
DOE to Begin TV Standards-Setting Process
You won't find this in the TV guide - DOE has announced they will set the first-ever national standards for televisions by June 2013. The decision to set national standards follows California's adoption of state TV standards last fall and actions by several states to follow suit. The first step of the three year federal rulemaking process will likely be published sometime after June 2010. (TVs, see p.27) Tune into the ASAP website for updates. In the meantime, check on state progress in setting standards below.
Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts Preliminary Document
March 24, 2010
DOE is addressing a wide range of fluorescent lamp ballasts used in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors in the current rulemaking. One specific category - ballasts used in outdoor-sign applications - can use as much as 1,800 kWh per year. Overall, the DOE preliminary analysis shows that energy use can be reduced by about 5-20% for most products at a cost of only $2-$4 per ballast. Ballasts
Small Electric Motors Final Rule
March 9, 2010
The new standards will save 2.2 quads of energy over 30 years or the equivalent of 2.2% of annual U.S. energy consumption.However, while these energy savings are significant, the DOE rule only covers about 5% of small motors actually in use. DOE has indicated that it may initiate a subsequent rulemaking in the near future to revisit the issue of scope of coverage in order to capture additional savings. Motors
Clothes Dryers and Room Air Conditioners Preliminary Document
February 23, 2010
According to DOE's preliminary analysis, it would be cost-effective to set standards that will reduce room air conditioner energy use by 13-20% depending on the specific product class.These savings are especially significant since air conditioners are used during peak hours. For clothes dryers, the assumption for a long time has been that there is no significant variation in energy use among different dryers, and that therefore there is little potential for energy savings. However, it has become clear that there is a significant flaw in the test procedure - it requires that the dryer be stopped before the clothes are actually completely dry and essentially assumes that all dryers have equally effective controls for determining when to shut off. A change in the test procedure would allow for a more realistic determination of potential energy savings. Dryers and AC
Commercial Clothes Washers Final Rule
January 8, 2010
DOE adopted energy and water efficiency standards for commercial clothes washers, machines found typically in laundromats, dormitories, and apartment buildings. DOE divided the product into two classes - front and top loaders - and issued separate standards. Of the two classes, front loaders are much more efficient. 97% of the front loaders on the market today already meet the new standards for front loaders - Modified Energy Factor (MEF) of 2.0 and Water Factor (WF) of 5.5 (higher MEF = more energy savings; lower WF = more water savings). Top loaders, the less efficient of the two classes, have weaker standards but only a small percentage of the current models meet them - MEF of 1.6 and WF of 8.5. Greater energy savings could have been achieved with one class (front loader) and a phased in approach to limit impacts for manufacturers not positioned for new standards. The rule will apply to machines manufactured or imported as of January 1, 2013. Commercial washers
|What's Up at the State Level?|
States are Active on Standards
It's been a busy year for state standards with legislatures in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin considering standards on a number of products from TVs to hot food holding cabinets to water dispensers. TVs, DVDs, and compact audio products are drawing the most debate with the Consumer Electronic Association (CEA) lobbying hard against any regulations on their products. This follows the California Energy Commission's adoption of TV standards last fall. Notably, many of the new televisions at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Nevada purported to meet the new California standards despite CEA's warnings that manufacturers would not be able to meet the standards by 2013. Fortunately, facts in support of energy and cost savings are on the side of standards proponents.
Of the 6 standards bills proposed, 4 are pending: Connecticut (HB5217), Massachusetts (HB 2416 and SB 6489) New York (Assembly Bill 9387 and SO6373) and Wisconsin (SB 450 and AB 649).
Connecticut - HB 5217 would enact standards for televisions, DVDs and compact audio products. It was voted favorably out of the House Energy and Technology Committee by a 15 to 6 margin. It moves on to a vote by the full House shortly.
Maryland - On March 13th, the House Economic Matters Committee voted down the TV standards bill.
- The bill covers TVs, hot food holding cabinets, portable electric spas, portable lighting fixtures, and water dispensers. The joint Senate/House Energy committee is expected to take action on the bill soon.
New York - This bill, which would enact state efficiency standards for televisions beginning in January, 2011, was referred to the House Energy Committee and the Senate Energy and Telecommunication Committee.
Washington - Washington's bill had strong support from the Governor's Office, utilities, and environmental and energy efficiency advocates. The bill passed the house but did not gain enough support in the Senate.
Wisconsin - Standby power standards for TVs, DVDs, and compact audio equipment are part of a larger bill known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act. The bill has been referred to the Select Committee on Clean Energy.
Pay Only When You Play - Turn the Game Consoles OFF!
According to a study by NRDC and Ecos Consulting, the Microsoft XBox 360 and the Sony Play Station3 (PS3) can consume the equivalent of two refrigerators worth of energy each year if left on all the time. For users who fail to turn off their device when they are not in use, annual energy costs run between $100 - $135 for the 2007 versions and between $140 and $160 for earlier versions. Simply by turning the console OFF after use, you can cut annual energy use by as much as 90%, lowering your energy costs to between $10 and $15 per year. While the XBox 360 and PS3 have an auto power down feature it is shipped disabled and the user needs to dig into the menu to turn this feature on. The Nintendo Wii uses much less power to operate than the other devices, as it draws around 20W during game play.
The industry is beginning to respond to the call to action issued by NRDC. The late 2009 version of the PS3 called the PS3 Slim is dramatically more efficient and uses 30% less power than its predecessor. In addition, video game designers and the console makers are working together to make sure users will in the future be able to easily save their place in a game before the console automatically powers down.
See NRDC fact sheet
on the energy efficiency of video game consoles, including tips for saving energy now. Is your game console off???
For more info or to sign up for the newsletter, send an e-mail
Marianne DiMascio, Outreach Director
Appliance Standards Awareness Project